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Ashley Banks is a featured contributor to Influencer Marketing: Where the Tactic is Headed and Trends to Support It report.

Here's the complete contribution:

We’re already in the age of the influencer, and the relationship between influencers and brands is only going to deepen in the next 3-5 years. The affiliate marketing model grounded in text-heavy blogs is ripe for disruption—and I predict influencers will steal that space away. We can already see Amazon betting big on influencers, shifting their incentives and services to support their burgeoning influencer network and away from their affiliate partners. When we look at the brand and influencer collaboration of the future at the micro-influencer level, I predict in the coming years a shift away from per-post payment models to commission or affiliate approaches to payment.

We have seen the impact of the visual web – consumers, with their short attention span, are drawn to snackable multimedia content. All of this bodes well for Instagram influencers at the precise moment when Instagram masters easy in-feed shopping. This shift to a commission model would help alleviate brand concerns about ROI and fake bot followings, while helping influencers who really drive impact rise to the top.

That being said, a brand’s approach to influencer marketing should not be purely as bottom-funnel sales drivers. Influencers aren’t a media channel—they are powerful partners that will enhance your brand message. As consumer distrust deepens, the importance of influencers will only rise, so brands need to lean into the powerful co-branded equity that these partnerships provide. Trends in major brands expanding beyond A-listers and heavy hitters (1M+ followers) to focus on micro-influencers will only increase. I also predict an explosion in brand-influencer product collaborations, as we are already seeing trends in super-fans and influencers driving product development to much success: this is an opportunity brands can’t pass up.


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